Wow! ‘After the Prophet‘ is a finalist for the 2010 PEN-USA nonfiction award, official announcement to come September 1. Am honored and psyched, especially since the paperback is due out September 7, making this lovely timing.
The new paperback cover is on the left, the hardcover one on the right:
I much prefer the new cover. Mere authors don’t get much of a say on such things, so I have serious reservations about those sand dunes and the ‘barefoot peasant garb,’ both of which are Western stereotypes. I’d say try walking barefoot on hot sand, but you really don’t want to do that. And while photographers love sand dunes for obvious reasons, most of the Middle East desert is either stony, dusty steppe-land or bare, jagged mountains.
Still, I do like the idea, however staged for the camera, of the two walkers going off on separate ways and yet in the same general direction. It’s a more graphic representation of the split, rather than the somewhat generic another-book-on-Islam feel that I get from the hardcover jacket. And it seems to convey more of a dramatic sense, raising the question of how come they’re going their separate ways and implying that there’s a tragic story to be told — which is what I did in the book (check out the website here, and the Gallery section of it here).
My friend and IT guru Olivier disagrees, and prefers the hardcover jacket. What do you think?